Brass candle holder with wood base, c.1880

I wonder how many fires were started as a result of broken candle holders. I have come across many examples with unusual replacement bases, including metal funnels, coconut shells, and blocks of wood. This is not surprising, as candleholders were handled everyday by various household members in every room of the house.

This candle holder was made in England in the late 1800s. It stands 7.5 inches high. Most likely it was one of a pair that might have been separated from its “perfect” mate. After the original brass base became detached from the stem, an overscaled wood replacement was fashioned. This well made base, complete with beveled edges and cut-line detailing along the top, measures 5 x 5 inches and appears to be a homemade make-do.

What ever happened to the matching candle holder without repair, you may ask? The story of The Prince and the Pauper comes to mind, so I imagine it has spent the past 130+ years in a castle, polished within an inch of its life, sitting prominently on a large sideboard and hobnobbing with other “perfect” things.

This pair of candlesticks suggests what the original octagonal base on mine might have looked like.

Photo courtesy of Selling Antiques

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One Response to “Brass candle holder with wood base, c.1880”

  1. Richard R Bruce says:

    Such a joy to see things so well loved that they are repaired to keep on keeping on! ( OR may be so needed that a repair is needed instead of buying new ,so poor? ) Maybe the short candle holder is off a disused piano sconce , they were often screwed together & fixed to a wall type bracket ! not suited to carry about , maybe even a matched pair of wood based sticks were made! The big brass sticks were commonly made in several pieces & SOLDERED together, a very skilled job & difficult for an amateur to do, when dropped could fracture at the join . I have a Base of one in my stuff! Early @18oos dating from before petroleum wax (white hard & clean burning ) sticks often had a centre ejector rod to pop out stub ends. Beeswax was the high end product but tallow beef fat sheep etc were much inferior (& could pong! ,stink! ) You saved up spare fat till a run of candles could be cast, the fat could be pretty ripe by then….eew! Remember tallow candles were generally short & digging a stinking candle stub out could “perfume” the fingers for the rest of the night buff said. love your presentations Andrew cheers from NZ

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